Tall white lettuce is a North American native. It prefers moist habitats, and mountainsides,
forests, and woodlands.
Plants: A stout central stem is glabrous, light green to
mottled purple to
purple, and 12-79" (30-200 cm) tall. Much smaller green side branches support a few leaves and the flowers.
Leaves: Alternate, 1½-7" (4-17 cm) around, and hairless. Torn leaves produce a white latex. Leaf shapes are highly variable:
triangular, heart-shaped, 3-5 lobed, with a couple of coarse teeth or
smooth-edges. Lower leaves have longer stems (petioles), and they are winged.
Flowers: Most members of the aster family are composite flowers, meaning they have both ray and disk florets. This species, however, has only ray flowers.
Each flower is tubular, downward-hanging, with 5 petals, cream tinged with green to straw yellow in color.
Flowers are ¾" (1.9 cm) long × ½" (1.3 cm) around, and emerging from the center of each
about ½" (1.3 cm) are several stamens.
Flowers appear from August to November.
Fruits: Fruits (if you want to get technical, they are
called cypselae for plants in the aster family)
are ⅛-³/₁₆" (3.5-6 mm) long, and tan to brown, with 8-11 ribs.